Birds of Prey
702 Pages
English
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Birds of Prey

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702 Pages
English

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Birds of Prey, by M. E. BraddonThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: Birds of PreyAuthor: M. E. BraddonPosting Date: December 15, 2009 [EBook #9362] Release Date: November, 2005 First Posted: September 24, 2003Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BIRDS OF PREY ***Produced by J. Ingram, G. Smith, T. Riikonen, and PG Distributed ProofreadersBIRDS OF PREYBYM.E. BRADDON[Illustration: "Be good enough to take me straight to her," said theCaptain, "I am her father."]CONTENTS:Book the First.FATAL FRIENDSHIP.I. THE HOUSE IN BLOOMSBURY II. PHILIP SHELDON READS THE "LANCET" III. MR. AND MRS. HALLIDAY IV. A PERPLEXING ILLNESS V. THE LETTERFROM THE "ALLIANCE" OFFICE VI. MR. BURKHAM'S UNCERTAINTIESBook the Second.THE TWO MACAIRES.I. A GOLDEN TEMPLE II. THE EASY DESCENT III. "HEART BARE, HEART HUNGRY, VERY POOR"Book the Third.HEAPING UP RICHES.I. A FORTUNATE MARRIAGE II. CHARLOTTE III. GEORGE SHELDON'S PROSPECTS IV. DIANA FINDS A NEW HOME V. AT THE LAWN VI. THE COMPACT OFGRAY'S INN VII. AUNT SARAH VIII. CHARLOTTE PROPHESIES RAIN IX. MR. SHELDON ON THE WATCHBook the Fourth.VALENTINE HAWKEHURST'S RECORD.I. THE OLDEST INHABITANT II. MATTHEW HAYGARTH'S RESTING-PLACE III. MR. GOODGE'S WISDOMBook ...

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Birds of Prey, by
M. E. Braddon
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at
no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.
You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the
terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net
Title: Birds of Prey
Author: M. E. Braddon
Posting Date: December 15, 2009 [EBook #9362]
Release Date: November, 2005 First Posted:
September 24, 2003
Language: English
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG
EBOOK BIRDS OF PREY ***
Produced by J. Ingram, G. Smith, T. Riikonen, and
PG Distributed ProofreadersBIRDS OF PREY
BY
M.E. BRADDON
[Illustration: "Be good enough to take me straight
to her," said the
Captain, "I am her father."]CONTENTS:
Book the First.
FATAL FRIENDSHIP.
I. THE HOUSE IN BLOOMSBURY II. PHILIP
SHELDON READS THE "LANCET" III. MR. AND
MRS. HALLIDAY IV. A PERPLEXING ILLNESS V.
THE LETTER FROM THE "ALLIANCE" OFFICE
VI. MR. BURKHAM'S UNCERTAINTIES
Book the Second.
THE TWO MACAIRES.
I. A GOLDEN TEMPLE II. THE EASY DESCENT
III. "HEART BARE, HEART HUNGRY, VERY
POOR"
Book the Third.
HEAPING UP RICHES.
I. A FORTUNATE MARRIAGE II. CHARLOTTE III.
GEORGE SHELDON'S PROSPECTS IV. DIANA
FINDS A NEW HOME V. AT THE LAWN VI. THE
COMPACT OF GRAY'S INN VII. AUNT SARAHVIII. CHARLOTTE PROPHESIES RAIN IX. MR.
SHELDON ON THE WATCH
Book the Fourth.
VALENTINE HAWKEHURST'S RECORD.
I. THE OLDEST INHABITANT II. MATTHEW
HAYGARTH'S RESTING-PLACE III. MR.
GOODGE'S WISDOM
Book the Fifth.
RELICS OF THE DEAD.
I. BETRAYED BY A BLOTTING-PAD II.
VALENTINE INVOKES THE PHANTOMS OF THE
PAST III. HUNTING THE JUDSONS IV.
GLIMPSES OF A BYGONE LIFE
Book the Sixth.
THE HEIRESS OF THE HAYGARTHS.
I. DISAPPOINTMENT II. VALENTINE'S RECORD
CONTINUED III. ARCADIA IV. IN PARADISE V.
TOO FAIR TO LAST VI. FOUND IN THE BIBLE
Book the Seventh.CHARLOTTE'S ENGAGEMENT.
I. "IN YOUR PATIENCE YE ARE STRONG" II.
MRS. SHELDON ACCEPTS HER DESTINY III.
MR. HAWKEHURST AND MR. GEORGE
SHELDON COME TO AN UNDERSTANDING IV.
MR. SHELDON IS PROPITIOUS V. MR.
SHELDON IS BENEVOLENT VI. RIDING THE
HIGH HORSE VII. MR. SHELDON IS PRUDENT
VIII. CHRISTMAS PEACE
BIRDS OF PREY
BOOK THE FIRST.
FATAL FRIENDSHIP.CHAPTER I.
THE HOUSE IN BLOOMSBURY.
"What about?" There are some houses whereof
the outward aspect is sealed with the seal of
respectability—houses which inspire confidence in
the minds of the most sceptical of butchers and
bakers—houses at whose area-gates the
tradesman delivers his goods undoubtingly, and
from whose spotless door-steps the vagabond
children of the neighbourhood recoil as from a
shrine too sacred for their gambols.
Such a house made its presence obvious, some
years ago, in one of the smaller streets of that
west-central region which lies between Holborn and
St. Pancras Church. It is perhaps the nature of
ultra-respectability to be disagreeably conspicuous.
The unsullied brightness of No. 14 Fitzgeorge-
street was a standing reproach to every other
house in the dingy thorough-fare. That one spot of
cleanliness made the surrounding dirt cruelly
palpable. The muslin curtains in the parlour
windows of No. 15 would not have appeared of
such a smoky yellow if the curtains of No. 14 had
not been of such a pharisaical whiteness. Mrs.
Magson, at No. 13, was a humble letter of
lodgings, always more or less in arrear with the
demands of quarter-day; and it seemed a hard
thing that her door-steps, whereon were expendedmuch labour and hearthstone—not to mention
house-flannel, which was in itself no unimportant
item in the annual expenses—should be always
thrown in the shade by the surpassing purity of the
steps before No. 14.
Not satisfied with being the very pink and pattern of
respectability, the objectionable house even
aspired to a kind of prettiness. It was as bright, and
pleasant, and rural of aspect as any house within
earshot of the roar and rattle of Holborn can be.
There were flowers in the windows; gaudy scarlet
geraniums, which seemed to enjoy an immunity
from all the ills to which geraniums are subject, so
impossible was it to discover a faded leaf amongst
their greenness, or the presence of blight amidst
their wealth of blossom. There were birdcages
within the shadow of the muslin curtains, and the
colouring of the newly-pointed brickwork was
agreeably relieved by the vivid green of Venetian
blinds. The freshly-varnished street-door bore a
brass-plate, on which to look was to be dazzled;
and the effect produced by this combination of
white door-step, scarlet geranium, green blind, and
brass-plate was obtrusively brilliant.
Those who had been so privileged as to behold the
interior of the house in Fitzgeorge-street brought
away with them a sense of admiration that was the
next thing to envy. The pink and pattern of
propriety within, as it was the pink and pattern of
propriety without, it excited in every breast alike a
wondering awe, as of a habitation tenanted by
some mysterious being, infinitely superior to thecommon order of householders.
The inscription on the brass-plate informed the
neighbourhood that No. 14 was occupied by Mr.
Sheldon, surgeon-dentist; and the dwellers in
Fitzgeorge-street amused themselves in their
leisure hours by speculative discussions upon the
character and pursuits, belongings and
surroundings, of this gentleman.
Of course he was eminently respectable. On that
question no Fitzgeorgian had ever hazarded a
doubt. A householder with such a door-step and
such muslin curtains could not be other than the
most correct of mankind; for, if there is any
external evidence by which a dissolute life or an ill-
regulated mind will infallibly betray itself, that
evidence is to be found in the yellowness and
limpness of muslin window-curtains. The eyes are
the windows of the soul, says the poet; but if a
man's eyes are not open to your inspection, the
windows of his house will help you to discover his
character as an individual, and his solidity as a
citizen. At least such was the opinion cherished in
Fitzgeorge-street, Russell-square.
The person and habits of Mr. Sheldon were in
perfect harmony with the aspect of the house. The
unsullied snow of the door-step reproduced itself in
the unsullied snow of his shirt-front; the brilliancy of
the brass-plate was reflected in the glittering
brightness of his gold-studs; the varnish on the
door was equalled by the lustrous surface of his
black-satin waistcoat; the careful pointing of thebrickwork was in a manner imitated by the perfect
order of his polished finger-nails and the
irreproachable neatness of his hair and whiskers.
No dentist or medical practitioner of any
denomination had inhabited the house in
Fitzgeorge-street before the coming of Philip
Sheldon. The house had been unoccupied for
upwards of a year, and was in the last stage of
shabbiness and decay, when the bills disappeared
all at once from the windows, and busy painters
and bricklayers set their ladders against the dingy
brickwork. Mr. Sheldon took the house on a long
lease, and spent two or three hundred pounds in
the embellishment of it. Upon the completion of all
repairs and decorations, two great waggon-loads of
furniture, distinguished by that old fashioned
clumsiness which is eminently suggestive of
respectability, arrived from the Euston-square
terminus, while a young man of meditative aspect
might have been seen on his knees, now in one
empty chamber, anon in another, performing some
species of indoor surveying, with a three-foot rule,
a loose little oblong memorandum-book, and the
merest stump of a square lead-pencil. This was an
emissary from the carpet warehouse; and before
nightfall it was known to more than one inhabitant
in Fitzgeorge-street that the stranger was going to
lay down new carpets. The new-comer was
evidently of an active and energetic temperament,
for within three days of his arrival the brass-plate
on his street-door announced his profession, while
a neat little glass-case, on a level with the eye of
the passing pedestrian, exhibited specimens of his
skill in mechanical dentistry, and afforded